Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Most of us know winter means cold and flu season, but winter weather can affect our mental health. During the winter, it’s important to prevent physical illness, and to take steps to defend against mental illness by practicing healthy habits.

 

Get the Flu Shot.  Try to get the flu shot every year, as people over 65 are at greater risk of developing complications should they get influenza. It’s also important that those who interact regularly with seniors get the flu shot.

Get Natural Light. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that occurs more in winter. It affects all age groups, though more women than men.

One of the main causes of SAD is reduced exposure to natural light, which helps to balance the body’s serotonin and melatonin levels. Therefore, to help combat SAD, spend some time in natural light daily. If you suspect you may have SAD, a doctor’s visit will evaluate what your next step should be.

Eat Balanced Meals. We often get lazy with our diets during the winter: it’s cold, the grocery store might seem far away when there’s so much snow to trudge through, and the early sunset can cause tiredness around dinnertime. Even so, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet to stay in good health. Slow cooker recipes are a great option for the winter since they produce hot meals that supply many servings.

Extra tip: It’s a good idea to ask your loved one/friends to help with trips to the grocery store in the winter. There are certified caregivers that can assist you with shopping, and even meal preparation too.